A Pulborough pensioner who lost nearly £68,000 to fraudsters will get his money back following an investigation by the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit.
Officers have been successful in securing Confiscation Orders at Lewes Crown Court against an organised crime group of fraudsters and money launderers for more than £250,000. Those confiscated funds were also ordered to be paid in compensation to their victims.
The 92 year-old man from Pulborough was one of 16 victims to be compensated.
He said: “I would like to thank all of the police who have been involved in this case, who have acted with dogged determination throughout, which has now paid off so successfully. I would like to say a huge thank you as not only have you kept us informed throughout, you have also explained everything in complete, but not complicated, detail. I really am very grateful to you for helping us through this. Fingers crossed now that they all pay up!”
The series of frauds which netted £256,000 took place in 2011. The criminals posed as neighbours, couriers and workmen, targeting more than 25 elderly and vulnerable people in Sussex, Surrey, and South and East London with a cold calling scam telling the victims that drains at their homes needed repairing as they were affecting neighbours’ properties.
Police were on the trail of the offenders from the start and made arrests in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The trial took place in 2014.
Detective Constable Fleur Jones said: ‘This has been a long and complex investigation, but it is good that POCA has now been used to make criminals pay back what they took, and help redress the damage that these heartless individuals have done to these victims and families lives.”
• Please don’t give or transfer money to people you don’t know, no matter how convincing or genuine they seem,
• Never give your PIN number and cash card to ANYONE.
• Don’t believe anyone who cold calls when they tell you your drains are blocked or your roof needs repairing.
• Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’, shut the door, put down the phone and check with someone you trust.